UNM Department of Surgery

Department of Surgery
Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery

UNM School of Medicine
MSC 10 5610
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131

Phone: (505) 272-6901
Fax: (505) 272-6909
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Cardiothoracic Surgery

Robotic and Minimally Invasive Cardiac Programs

Robotic Surgery

Port Placement

The main survival advantage in a coronary artery bypass surgery is through the use of the internal mammary artery to bypass the LAD (left anterior descending) coronary artery. Robotic techniques provide high-definition and 3-dimensional visualization along with tremor filtration and the capability of allowing the surgeon to have ‘microwrist’ motions in the Healing After 4 Weeks thoracic cavity. This technology allows the surgeon to identify the internal mammary artery and to harvest the artery using electrocautery. In addition, the surgeon can open the pericardium (pericardiotomy) and identify the target (LAD). The anastomosis is then performed using hand-sewn techniques through a small chest incision (mini-thoracotomy) without the need to cut through any bone. Incision

This technique is associated with decreased: bleeding, risk of stroke, atrial fibrillation, and post-operative pain. Patients have a shorter stay in the hospital (3-5 days versus 7-10 days) and a much quicker return to daily activities (2-4 weeks versus 4-6 months). There is no bone cutting, so the risk of infection is low, and the recovery time is significantly shorter. There is no manipulation of the ascending aorta, which decreases the risk of embolization and stroke. Also, the cosmetic result is appealing to patients.

This procedure can be offered to patients with single vessel disease or multivessel disease.

The University of New Mexico pioneered robotic cardiac surgery in the state in 2014 and continues to be the only center in the state offering this surgical approach.

Minimally Invasive Valve Surgery

The mission of our program is to minimize pain and discomfort after heart surgery, minimize risk, and maximize chances of an expeditious recovery. Our surgical team at the University of New Mexico offers the latest advances in cardiac surgery techniques including minimally invasive surgical options.

In selected patients it is possible to repair or replace the mitral, aortic, or tricuspid valve by using a small incision made in the midline of the chest or lateral chest wall as an alternative to the standard midline incision (full sternotomy).

The Human Heart provided by Edwards Lifesciences The Human Heart provided by Edwards Lifesciences The Human Heart provided by Edwards Lifesciences


Advantages of minimally invasive approaches:

  • Decreased pain following the procedure;
  • Decreased utilization of blood and blood products transfusions;
  • Shorter stay in the hospital;
  • Earlier return to work or other activities;
  • Improved cosmetic result.